Creating content is not as easy as it used to be. This is especially true if your content consists of guides and giving a straightforward step by step process to your audience, like this guide provided by Jamie Spencer. Back in the day, you could get away with stuffing your articles and blogs with keywords and spammy links and you would rank well. Over time search engines wised up to these tactics making it much more difficult; however, with the right tools and tactics for content creation, your site should not have any problems beyond how to handle all the visitors coming to your website or social media page!
If you’d like to improve your web traffic, here are 10 must have content creation tools and tactics:
1. Content Calendar
The first thing you need is a plan, so you will want to come up with a content calendar. A content calendar is just what it sounds like: an organized succession of content scheduled over a period of time. It keeps your content creation precise like a laser rather than buckshot.
You can use a paper calendar to pencil in your planned posts, or use an app such as Google Calendar to plot your plans. It is recommended that you plan your content up to 6 months in advance. The trick is to make a plan and stick to it as closely as possible, unless something particularly important, interesting, or exciting comes up that you simply have to write about or feature in a timely manner.
Keep your topics cohesive and/or logical by making a mind map. Start with the main topic at the center, and identify related topics as offshoots. If you are stumped for ideas, type in a keyword or phrase on a search engine, and check out the related searches. That should give you some great ideas for topics.
If you want to deliver content that is not only engaging and informative, but also trending on social media, you can use a site like BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo collects data on the popularity of specific content on a particular topic on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can filter the results to fit your needs and get a ton of useful information back. You can also use it to find influencers for a particular niche or industry, and monitor the performance of any topic or brand, including your competitors. It is a very useful tool for effective content marketing, and most of its best features are available free of charge!
One of the must haves of any web content is good quality images. Images can be used as eye candy, to illustrate a point, or as the main event such as an infographic. For that, you normally need to manipulate images. You can use Canva, an image editor that does not require any previous experience in image editing. You can create and edit images, infographics, and graphic designs very easily to make your content or to make your post more interesting.
Search engine optimization is all well and good, but what about helping people already on your site find the content they need? One of the first things most people will look for when landing on a website is the search tool, so it would be practically a sin not to have one on your site. Fortunately, it is easy enough to add a good site search tool on your site with services like FreeFind. You just need to register for an account to get instructions on how to set it up on your site. It doesn’t cost you anything, but it can make your content much more visible.
While an animated gif may not be crucial to your web or social media content, it does put quite a zing to your post. You can use a tool like Giphy to find an appropriate gif for your content, or make your own. The site will also give you instructions on how to add an animated gif to your social networks.
Many people are struck by an idea for fantastic content at the most inconvenient times, such as during a long commute, while working out, on a bike ride, or when out walking the dog. You can capture the moment by having an app like Evernote or one of the default Notes apps on your smartphone’s operating system. This way you can quickly record your great idea for a topic or Eureka moment before it slips away. You can also do some research, make some notes, and conveniently sync everything with all your devices.
One of the deadly sins in content creation is sloppy grammar and typos. You can make sure you don’t commit these solecisms by going through your content carefully. However, many writers develop blind spots when it comes to proofreading their own work, and running your document through your word processor’s grammar and spell checker is often not good enough. Use a free app like Grammarly for more thorough checking. It will even give tips and suggestions on how to make your content better contextually, so you can post your content with confidence.
8. Headline Analyzer
Think about what causes you to click on a post, and you will quickly realize the importance of a kickass title. It isn’t always easy to tell if what seems like a cool title to you will make the grade for most people, so CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer can be very helpful. It is a free tool for assessing your headline, and offers tips on how to make it better.
If interactive infographics is the star of your content, you may also want to add Infogr.am to your arsenal of content creation toolbox. It is a free tool that is especially useful for creating interactive maps, but you can also use it to create interactive graphs and charts online. You won’t need to know any coding, and you can customize it to reflect the look and tone of your site or business. You can even link it to a live source such as Google Docs, so you can keep the data updated without having to take it down and uploading it again. It’s pretty cool; try it!
10. Free Stock Photos
It may not always be possible to put original images in your post. It could be lack of time, money, or skill. In any case, a source for free stock photos will always come in handy as the icing on your content cake. There are quite a few sites offering royalty-free photos and images you can use in any way you like, including Pixabayand Pexels, where you don’t even have to credit the source!
Content creation can be a royal pain in the behind, but it is a crucial part of your marketing efforts, so you really have no choice if you want to have online success. With these 10 must have tools and tactics, you might even learn to enjoy doing it.
Author Bio: Sef Cruz is the owner of RankingElite.com, an online marketing blog specifically focusing in SEO. Sef has been blogging for more than 3 years now and has been featured in Search Engine Blogs such as SearchEngineJournal.com, Kikolani.com, Ahrefs.com.